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Blue Demons Soar Higher Than the Eagles

CHICAGO - The DePaul volleyball team opened the DePaul Invitational with a 3-1 victory over Eastern Michigan. With the win the Blue Demons improve to 6-5, while the Eagles fall to 1-11.  Prior to the match, Western Kentucky defeated Sacramento State, 3-0.

DePaul used a team attack percentage of .234 (60-23-158) to fight its way to victory.  Defensively the Blue Demons recorded 69 digs to help keep the offense in system.

Sarah Cullen paced the floor with 20 kills, marking the third time this season she has eclipsed the 20 kills mark.  She also chipped in 14 digs to register her seventh double-double of the season.  Chelsea Thurlby protected the back court with 20 digs while Katherine Knutson tagged on 18.

While both teams tallied 11 put aways in the first stanza, DePaul capitalized on nine Eagle attack errors to win 25-19.  At the start, neither squad could seem to build more than a one point lead, as points were traded back and fourth until things were knotted up at 12.  Kate Letcher served for the next six points to build the Blue Demon lead to six.  Back-to-back kills from Carolyn Steger forced DePaul to spend a timeout with the score 20-16, but the break in the action proved to be positive for the Blue Demons.  A kill from Chandler Carney set up game-point for Christy Landschoot to serve for the win.

The Eagles fired back in the second, committing just four attack errors in route to a .326 (18-4-43) clip.  DePaul was kill-for-kill, however, recording 19 put downs of their own led by five kills from Cullen and four off the swing of Carney.  The entire match continued to be an even draw, as no team led by more than two the entire set.  With game-point on the line at 27-26, Carney terminated the ball, tied the game, and force Eastern Michigan to call timeout.  A kill from Sammy Geiger and a Letcher ace clinched game two and gave the Blue Demons the 2-0 advantage.

Although DePaul posted more kills in the third set, the Eagles were able to gain timely points in their first win of the match 25-23.  Eastern Michigan was able to take advantage of Blue Demon errors to build its lead 17-11 before DePaul was able to return the favor and come back within a single point.  Rachel Iaquaniello led the Eagles with four kills and no attack errors.

On to the fourth game, the Blue Demons jumped out to a 7-4 advantage led by the serve of Geiger and the swing of Letcher.  The Eagles made a run, however, and re-took the lead, 14-13 following a Blue Demon attack error.  With the threat of going a fifth set, DePaul maintained their composer and clawed their way back after another Letcher ace to lock the score at 19.  It was all Cullen after that, showing her leadership and experience on the floor by accounting for four of the final five points.  Carney clinched the match with a kill.

Geiger finished the evening with 47 assists.  Letcher added 11 kills and three service aces.  Eagle libero Haley Stein paced the floor with 22 digs.

The Blue Demons gear up for game two of the DePaul Invitational slated for 12:30 p.m. (CST) against Western Kentucky.  Eastern Michigan will tangle with Sacramento State at 10 a.m.  DePaul Radio will be teaming up with Blue Tube to call the Blue Demon's action live.

Notes: Cullen has eclipsed the double-digit kill total eight times this season... DePaul is currently 3-2 in five-game matches after going 2-6 the entire 2008 season... Sarah Cullen has registered a double-double (kills-digs) in seven matches this season bringing her career total to 34... Kate Letcher has been named to every all-tournament team of the season thus far... Sammy Geiger raised her career-best kill total to 13 during the victory over NC State and finished the weekend with 33... Cullen tops the team in five categories including kills, attempts, points, digs, and service aces.